The Boys in the Band

The Boys in the Band

DVD - 2008
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A witty, perceptive and devastating look at the personal agendas and suppressed revelations swirling among a group of gay men in Manhattan. Harold is celebrating a birthday, and his friend Michael has drafted some friends to help commemorate the event. As the evening progresses, the alcohol flows, the knives come out, and Michael's demand that the group participate in a devious telephone game unleashes dormant and unspoken emotions.
Publisher: Hollywood, Calif. : Paramount Home Entertainment, [2008]
ISBN: 9781415709436
1415709432
Branch Call Number: DVD Boys 7-DAY
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (ca. 119 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in.
Alternative Title: Mart Crowley's Boys in the band

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s
singasong70
Jan 02, 2016

There's only one word to describe it: seering.
Based on truth events one wonders? Takes a strong stomach to watch, worth it in some respects r/t the truths it uncovers.

d
Derringer
Jan 16, 2015

Babbling queens and Nursebobs gather like birds of a feather at a dreary birthday party of non-stop bitching and bickering.

This dead-end film is supposed to be gay propaganda. But it doesn't look like being a homosexual is all that great to me.

n
Nursebob
Jan 16, 2015

As storm clouds gather overhead a group of men, all gay, gather in a modest New York apartment for a birthday party in honour of their mutual friend, Harold, who has chosen to be fashionably late. There’s the usual generic queer dishing and camping as they await his arrival but when the host’s very conservative and questionably straight college buddy shows up unexpectedly with emotional baggage in tow, a slow fuse is lit that burns brighter and hotter as the evening wears on. When Harold eventually does show up, stoned and uncaring, the stage is set for a series of emotional showdowns. Easy banter soon gives way to some rather sharp and nasty barbs; jealousies and resentments begin to surface and the host’s buddy throws a homosexual panic that almost brings the house down. With a tempest raging outside, the men retreat to the living-room where a cruel game of “Truth or Dare” takes place which strips away defenses and lays bare some painful truths. Based on Mart Crowley’s play, Boys in the Band uses a party as an ironic metaphor to illustrate the realities of being gay in 1970. If you can look past the gucci bags, fruity poodles and chintz curtains you’ll see that he has incorporated a rich variety of sentiments into just a few characters. While the host is poisoned by internalized homophobia one guest acts out his gayness almost as a challenge to the world; while another man risks everything for the sake of love, his partner finds himself terrified at the prospect of intimacy. Even Harold, world-weary and cynical, finds some solace in the hustler hired to be his “gift” for the night; a naive and refreshingly untainted young man who remains immune to the poison darts flying over his head. It would be easy to dismiss this film as just so much homo nihilism, but one must take it in historical context. Released just one year after the Stonewall Riots, it was the first film to show gay men as more than just comedy relief. It came out at a time when being gay was sufficient grounds for losing your job, your home, your family, and your freedom. I see this brilliant film as both a dark celebration and an angry rebuke to society at large. As one character put it, “If we could just learn not to hate ourselves quite so much...” As true today as it was back then. As a sad footnote, five of the original cast members have since died of AIDS.

m
ManMachine
Nov 23, 2014

OK. Let's Go Tip-Toe Thru' The Tulips With 1970s Gays.

If The Boys In The Band (TBITB, for short) was really supposed to be an accurate depiction of what happens at a party consisting of only gay men, then it sure looked to me like these unhappy campers didn't know how to have a good time (sober or drunk) when they were in each other's company. They really didn't.

From hurling vicious insults, to hateful bitching & bickering, to basking in self-pity, to shoving each other around, to deep-rooted resentment & bitterness - Believe me, TBITB did not paint itself a pretty picture.

Below are several quotes taken directly from this decidedly sordid homosexual soap opera. If these sorts of comments appeal to you, then, perhaps, TBITB will, indeed, entertain you to pieces - If not - Then you can always choose another movie to watch.

"There's nothing more boring than a queen doing a Judy Garland impersonation."

"Who would want to be a flaming, little sissy like you?"

"Show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse."

"Just the same, old, tired fairies."

"You remind me of an old maid, school teacher."

(Get the picture?)

*Note* - This sort of chit-chat went on and on and on, non-stop, throughout the entire course of the story.

Personally, I believe that if director William Friedkin (who 3 years later directed The Exorcist) had thrown a few lesbians into the mix at Harold's birthday party, then that, I'm sure, would've helped heaps to alleviate some of the brutal pettiness and irksome monotony that prevailed from TBITB's swishy beginning to its trite and tearful finale.

HAROLDJOHN Jan 25, 2013

Must see along with Brokeback Mountain for every gay person.

jmmason Mar 21, 2012

First play I ever saw on stage in New York. Thanksgiving 1968. I was 18. You cannot imagine how fantastic that was. 'The love that dared not speak it's name' was up there shouting in all it's glory, a year before the Stonewall riots. What so many viewer's seem to miss is how truly funny these people are, how truly funny the play is. To be that witty required so much more awareness and intelligence than today's kids can summon up. We were outlaws then and humor was our chief weapon against the horrible outside world who hated us. They still do, don't fool yourself. In 1968 homosexuality was illegal. Psychiactrists considered us mentally ill. It took people like Mart Crowley to chart the way, to give us a glimpse of ourselves that the outside world was trying to deny even existed. Except for that wayward straight guy, there was no one at this birthday party I didn't recognize (actually I've dated him). All the guys I went to school with and the townies I met at the local bars were just like the men in this play. To say we were full of self-hatred reveals a mis-understanding of the basics of being an oppressed and hated minority (think bullying, think suicide, think hateful parents). We all did our best to get on with life, which was actually a lot more fun "fun" then than today's dour gay scene. Being oppressed brought us closer together, gave us a purpose (The early AIDS crisis pushed us even further) . Can today's homosexual community make such a boast? Today's gay "life" seems bankrupt compared to all the culture we gave up to achieve equality. The best relationship in the play is between Michael and Leonard, but so many viewers seem to miss their playfulness with each other. Leonard does say to Michael on his way out the door (with his Cowboy), "Call you tomorrow." Everyone in this play is well-adjusted except Michael. The others don't hate life. Hank and Larry are in a committed relationship and spend much of Act ll upstairs making love. Bernard is quiet, best friends with the flambuoyant Emory. Is Emory unhappy? Is Bernard unhappy? Is Cowboy unhappy? No. Michael is unhappy. (How many heterosexual classics are about "happy?" Is 'Virginia Woolf' about happy? Does anybody think Edward Albee is happy? I think he is a 'Michael' personality, this Mr. Albee.)This is a must-see movie. This is the same wonderful cast I encountered on that tiny Theatre Four stage so many decades ago. My sadness today is that the queer community now thinks that getting married and moving to the burbs and having a kid are a big deal. Talk about imitating your oppressors and giving up your identity. Now, who's full of loathing and self-hatred?

b
Basileus
Nov 14, 2011

To a generation familiar with the TV series Queer as Folk, this movie is probably going to be hard to watch. Set in pre-Stonewall America, this is a movie about a group of friends gathering to celebrate the birthday of one of their own. They just happen to be gay. Unlike the world of QAF, which presents gay life as no different than any other lifestyle, the men in this movie live in a different enviroment. What they are is not only illegal, but looked at with disgust by most of society. The one straight character in the movie presents societies views on homosexuality, but it is really the men themselves that do the most damage to each other through the most deepest self-loathing and hatred I have ever seen on screen. The saddest thing about this movie is that, at the time, this was the only portrait of gay life available in the media, and gays were actually grateful for any crumb they could get from the Hollywood machine. Socially, things may have changed, but I think every gay person can relate to this generations old movie.

a
andyx6766
Sep 09, 2011

Hard for some to watch, because the characterizations are so politically-incorrect, but a more heartfelt--and insightful--warts-and-all look at being gay before the Stonewall Revolution can hardly be found anywhere else. Excellent performances all around, and a superb feat of direction by Friedkin.

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Basileus
Nov 14, 2011

Basileus thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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Basileus
Nov 14, 2011

While this movie is rated R, it doesn't deserve that rating. The language is coarse, but no worse than anything on cable TV. There is no sex and no nudity and just a little bit of violence. The only reason it is rated R is because it deals with gay people. They don't even talk about sex, but they do talk about love and acceptance which I am sure will offend someone.

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